Former queen buried in tomb

Monday, July 1, 2002

KABUL, Afghanistan -- To the solemn strains of a funeral march, the body of Afghanistan's former queen, Homaira Shah, was returned to Kabul on Sunday and buried in the royal family's war-damaged tomb on a barren stone ridge overlooking the city where her husband once ruled.

The former king, Mohammad Zaher Shah, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai were among the crowd of dignitaries on hand to meet the Italian military plane carrying the body when it touched down in blazing afternoon sunshine at Kabul's battered international airport.

Old men in Afghan military regalia, representatives of Pashtun tribes in full traditional dress of robes and turbans, foreign diplomats and many Cabinet ministers from the current and former interim government stood by and watched quietly as the coffin, draped in and red-and-green banner, was unloaded from the plane and carried across the tarmac by eight uniformed military pallbearers, who followed a goose-stepping officer leading the procession.

With a band playing a funeral march, the king, dressed in a dark suit, walked with Karzai beside the coffin as it was paraded past the ranks of mourners before it was loaded into a black hearse that drove out the gates of the airport.

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